According to the Book of Order, a presbytery “is the council serving a corporate expression of the church within a certain district and is compose of all the congregations and teaching elders within that district,” (G-3.0301), at least that is the formal definition.  The presbytery, however, is also the church for all the teaching elders (pastors and chaplains) that belong to it.  Teaching Elders are not members of the congregations they pastor, but instead are members of the presbytery.  Therefore, the presbytery has primary oversight of the pastoral needs of its Teaching Elders and their families.  

For more information on Teaching Elders, Ruling Elders and Deacon, see this PC(USA) Resource on Ordination.

Caring for our Teaching Elders (Pastors and Chaplains)

In response to the need for caring for our Teaching Elders, the Presbytery Council has established a Pastoral Care Team to fulfill this responsibility.  The Pastoral Care Team was expanded over the summer 2015 and is now re-organized by counties, with each county in the presbytery assigned to a local team member.  The team can now respond more quickly and one goal/hope is to build stronger relationships with local peers.

The Pastoral Care Team and county assignments are:
Katy Stenta – Albany County
Drew Paton –   Columbia and Green Counties
Lois Wolff – Warren and northern Saratoga County
Linda Martin – Fulton County
Gusti Newquist – Rensselaer County
Tim Coombs – Schenectady and southern Saratoga County
Brandon Eddy – Schoharie and Montgomery Counties
Laura Mitchell – Washington County

How Do I Learn More?

The Pastoral Care Team will keep their assigned churches in prayer and be the first line of care from the presbytery for the pastor and his/her family.  

If care is needed, please contact:
Coordinator: Tim Coombs: | (cell: 518-669-0123)
Albany Presbytery Office: | (518-273-4991 office)  

Anyone is also free to call the specific member of the Pastoral Care Team for your area.

You can always find basic information for each of the Albany Presbytery Committees & Groups on our website.

About Rev. Dr. Tim Coombs

Tim Coombs serves as co-pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Scotia, NY with his wife, Rev. Kathleen Gorman-Coombs and leads a New Worshiping Community, Parallels ( He also worked on staff at Albany Presbytery for over a decade. Besides his work for the church, Tim is a storyteller, biker, guitar player, and intern to his cat, Sharpie. You can reach Tim at:

The purpose of the Albany Presbytery Blog is to share information, tell stories, and promote the mission and ministry of the presbytery, synod and beyond. While the breadth of this medium is intentionally broad, it is not a platform for opinion pieces related to business coming before the presbytery unless designed as part of an initiative to provide a diversity of viewpoints at the direction of the presbytery. Exceptions to this policy may be brought to the presbytery officers who will determine appropriateness of submissions.